3. Identification and Inspection


Lubrication points without proper identification are perfect source for errors with dramatic consequences: wrong oil or grease in a machine can cause sudden breakdown. Sometimes even small quantity cross contamination can result in catastrophic failure inducing. 

To ensure that the right lubricant is added to a piece of equipment, a labeling system is needed. This is driven by the fact that in large plants multiple types of lubricants are used. Lubricants are complex chemical compositions and are often very incompatible, so to avoid errors of mixing lubes and to support industry standards, particularly in the food-grade industry, a good labeling system is necessary. 

Labeling and colour-coding of lubricants should be consistent
and up to date throughout the program. 

It can be a simple concept, but could prove to be difficult to implement and maintain. First step is to decide where to put the identification tags. Decide how to label each corresponding lubricant from bulk storage to the equipment it will be used in.

OilSafe logo

A few of the items that require identification tags:

  • Gearboxes
  • Funnels
  • Bulk storage tanks/Totes
  • Grease guns
  • Drum pumps
  • Transfer hoses
  • Top-up devices
  • Used oil container

It does not take huge investments to well identify or colour code lubricants, dispensing equipment and lube points on machinery to avoid malicious cross contamination. A good tagging system is a key part of a world class lubrication program.  OilSafe has developed a comprehensive suite of industrial grade labels to suit your lubricant labeling programme. Labels  are available in a variety of sizes, materials and styles to provide the flexibility needed for the challenges that exist in industrial environments.

Lubricant Inspection 

While identification is imperative, lubricant inspection should be a continuous worry.  It happens every day that machine components like gear boxes run dry of oil/grease. Oil Levels are overseen or too dirty to inspect or not even included in the technicians inspection route.  Or worse, no oil level indicator is installed on the machine, making inspection impossible without opening the machine or draining it. 

Don't underestimate the human eye

Condition monitoring products luneta

Visual Oil Inspection

Many lube-related problems are not deep-seated, but are just basic errors of human judgment. As such, there are some basic, visual  tools that are a powerful complement to the more sophisticated predictive maintenance technologies.

3d bullseye sightglass

3-D sight glass

A reliable option for ensuring the proper oil level in pumps and small gearboxes is to use a 3D-sight glass, which permits the oil level to be viewed from any angle. Molded-in a hex nut means, that installing the 3D-sight glass is very simple and be done quickly. Experts all agree that daily visual inspection is one of the most effective ways to ensure reliability.

Condition Monitoring Pod (CMP)

Condition Monitoring Pod 

Machine faults are faster detected with the Condition Monitoring Pod. This multi-parameter inspection pod lets you quickly observe oil level, color and clarity, oil aeration and foaming, corrosion, varnish, wear debris and much more. You will quickly identify root causes and symptoms of failure that would have previously gone undetected.
Oil Sight Glass Level Monitor

Level Gauges

When the housing does not have a sight glass port at oil level (to gauge the oil level inside large tanks, gearboxes, reservoirs etc.) a much better option is to use an external level gauge. Checking the oil takes a matter of seconds. The level gauges should be marked with level markers, showing the correct level when the machine is running and when it’s down.

Oil Colour

60-70% of all lubrication-related problems are caused by contamination. Visual analysis is a great tool to determine the presence of contaminants, particularly water. 

A change in oil colour can be a good indication of a problem. Change of colour can be caused by thermal stress, oxidation, presence of wear metals or other debris. If observed colour change, it is a good idea to extract a sample and perform an additional test. A change in colour can also be caused by sunlight or other strong light sources. 

Tip: Having a 3D oil sight glass and/or liquid level gauge is great for determining changes in oil colour


It is very important that visual leak checks are conducted. Sight glasses and level gauges give a great visual check as they are one of the easiest to observe. Any change in oil level, sight glass foaming, darkening, hazing or vanishing on that glass are all unwanted signs and indicators that there is a serious concern. 

The 10 steps to implement Lubrication Reliability™




Plan, Manage, Organise

Oil sight glass (3D BullsEye)

Identification and Inspection

Lustor on steel bund

Lube storage by cleanliness control

Oil dispensing is an art..?

Oil dispensing is an Art..?

Grease Lubrication

Grease Lubrication

Breather Z-series

Contamination Control

FanPro - Fluid analysis program

Measure Quality by oil analysis

Environmental control

Environmental control

Feed the brain and train

Feed the brain and train